UAB doctor encouraged by decreasing COVID-19 cases, remains cautious

UAB doctor encouraged by falling virus numbers

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline around the state, doctors are feeling optimistic but still very cautious.

When Dr. Sarah Nafziger looks at the numbers now, she can’t help but feel a sense of relief.

“Frankly, it’s just a breath of fresh air for all of us in healthcare,” Nafziger said.

As UAB’s Vice President for Clinical Services, Nafziger can’t help but study why the numbers are finally moving in the right direction.

“I don’t think it’s just one thing. I think definitely the availability of the vaccine and beginning to roll that out has had an impact. The groups that were chosen for the initial vaccine rollout were chosen for a reason the public health experts put a lot of time into choosing those groups and guiding us into who to vaccinate,” Nafziger said.

But she’s not convinced the vaccine is the only thing driving down cases and hospitalizations.

“One thing that has driven hospitalizations down is the use of monoclonal antibody infusions, some of these medications that we’re able to give people, which really do a great job of keeping these high-risk people well and out of the hospital,” Nafziger explained. “As far as the new numbers of COVID cases, I think that we can’t discount behaviors. I’m hoping that people are being careful still, with masking and with social distancing, as we get used to all the things that we have to do to keep ourselves safe. Hopefully, that is what’s driving those lower numbers as well.”

And she warns, this still is not the end of this pandemic and still not the time to stop wearing masks or social distancing.

“Great news is, we’ve learned a lot about how to keep ourselves safe in the last year,” said Nafziger. “We figured out how we can keep school open and do it safely. We figured out how we can go to the grocery store and even how we can have some gatherings safely. So now that we’re doing those things in a safe manner, I think, you know, we’re seeing the case rates go down. And hopefully, that’s a piece of the puzzle.”

Nafziger understands everyone is tired of the masks. She says she is too. But she urges us all to keep wearing them until everyone gets vaccinated, just a little while longer.

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